Uncategorized


19
May 12

Stop making it so hard for me to give you my money

Shut up and take my money!

I sent the following letter to shinywhitebox’s customer support today after trying to buy iShowU HD. iShowU HD is a terribly-named but genuinely good piece of Mac software. Unfortunately, the experience of buying it almost made me give up in frustration.


 

Dear shinywhitebox,

You guys made it really difficult to give you my money today. I was trying to buy the $69.95 iShowU HD Pro / Stomp bundle, but I couldn’t for about 15 minutes.

Using Safari 5.1.5 for Mac, I registered, then tried PayPal—it went to a sandbox account which I couldn’t log into. I tried my Visa and it was declined (the card is fine and I double checked the info). I tried Kagi but it only has iShowU for sale. Not inspiring a lot of confidence here.

I looked on the Mac App Store but it’s $30 more for both. That’s hard to swallow.

I started the process on the website over again in Chrome, because I had clicked several times on iShowU HD’s Add to Cart button but because of lack of feedback I thought it wasn’t working—instead it kept incrementing the quantity counter on the right, up to 5. Even though I had changed it to 0 and clicked Update before I tried my first purchase attempt, when I tried to start over in Safari the 5 still appeared.

Anyway, there was no record of the user I created. So I created it again (I guess it’s only created on successful payment). This time the card worked, and I was presented with the products I had just purchased.

Well, the names anyway. There were no download links. If I just purchased the software, you should present the download links immediately, even if I can easily find them on the website.

I checked my email and found two duplicate “Your new account details” emails—one from “LocalTestSupport” and another from shinywhitebox Support. The final third email did, in fact, have download links.

In the final email, there was a typo:

Load the app at least once (you’ve done this already right? cos you downloaded them demo … right? :-)

No, I had deleted the demo because I had tried to do the software update before all of this and it failed. It was probably a year old and I chalked it up to something breaking in the interim.

Guys, you make a great app, but you made it so hard for me to get a registered copy of it that I wonder how many potential customers you bounce in the process.

p.s. Your contact form declined my perfectly valid .name email address. If you care about customer feedback, you should make email optional anyway.


Update from Neil Clayton at shinywhitebox: Neil responded to this by email with a detailed reply that covered most of the issues I raised. It looks like I was somehow funneled to the test server, but he was unsure how it happened (and, I assume, will investigate). Besides that, he has:

  • Created a ticket to add download links to his emails.
  • Fixed the typos.
  • Removed the email validation on the contact form.

No word on the price discrepancy of the Mac App Store versus the website, or the different product offering on the Kagi store, but thanks to Neil for taking the time to address some of these concerns.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!

31
Jul 10

MySpace Music iTunes cover art

Random post! I made an iTunes album cover and thought other people might want it. Every now and then a musician or band I follow releases a song exclusively to their MySpace site. If it’s not available to buy I grab it with the fantastic WireTap Studio, then slap this bad boy on it:

(Download an iTunes-suitable version (actual size 600×600) or the original vector image if you’d like to customize it.)

Not surprisingly, MySpace’s marketing department doesn’t understand image quality at all. This is the original “high-definition” version of the MySpace Music logo found on their press site, actual size:

Maybe it looks great on a BlackBerry or something.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!

5
Mar 10

Know your Uniform Resource Locator

I work for a company that does a fair amount of web crawling (no, not that one), and recently there has been an ongoing discussion between the engineering side and the business side about various sundry details of URL validation. On a whim, I created this diagram (among others) to help facilitate that discussion.

Click for a larger image.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!

25
Feb 10

Meetings are like goldfish

They expand to fit the space allotted.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!

24
Mar 09

2009 Dice Career Fair in Seattle

Fun fact: Last month I was laid off from my job at a startup, along with about half the company. Now, I’ve been sending out resumes and interviewing, and although I’ve never been to a career fair before, I figured I might as well go just in case. Why not, right? Well, I’ll tell you why not.

The thing ran from 11 AM to 3 PM, and I got there around 10:45 only to see a very long line forming. The line stretched longer and longer leading up to 11; at least 100 people were there when it opened.

As we slowly shuffled up to the registration table, I came to the realization that there were a grand total of four companies at this so-called “career fair”. FOUR. In the e-mail about the event, they had a list of companies but I thought it was a representative sample—not the entire list.

Isn’t there some agreed-upon or understood minimum number of participating companies for these things? When the entire career fair could fit inside a hotel room, as opposed to a ballroom, I think it’s time to call it quits.

The utterly depressing thing is that almost every candidate there was a middle-aged man in a suit. These are guys that have families to feed, all competing over what amounts to scraps… the desperation was pretty palpable.

Anyway, I just left.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!